Saturday, May 23, 2020

Zoë's 5th birthday: the cake

For her cake this year Zoë wanted a strawberry cake with flowers, butterflies, sunshine, birds, and rainbows. Not that she's particular.

Rachel asked if she could try her hand at cake decorating, so I put most of my effort into making a strawberry cake from, as Benjamin likes to say, "scrap." He means, of course, "scratch." We've corrected him but he can't hear the difference and it's hilarious. Like, the other night Andrew was tempted to order take out (something we had rarely done in pre-pandemic times but which we seem to do about once a week now (to support the local economy, Andrew tells me)) and I said, "Oh, we can just make spaghetti or something simple."

Next thing I know, Andrew is making a lovely homemade tomato sauce and homemade spaghetti noodles. It was quite the undertaking and I was like, "I meant just open a box and boil the contents, not make a huge mess and spend hours in the kitchen!"

"It's okay," Benjamin said, "I love it when Dad makes food from scraps."

Like he's just throwing leftover this and that into a pot. Ha!

Anyway, I made a strawberry cake from scratch (including making a strawberry reduction from fresh strawberries to flavour the cake) and it turned out quite well. It had a nice tight crumb, which made icing it a lot easier than it is on super fluffy cakes from a boxed mix. Rachel did the crumb coat and stacked the layers and then did the overcoat (is that the term for it?) on Thursday and on Friday she made marshmallow fondant and started decorating.

She did the sunshine and the five all by herself, but asked for a little help with the flowers (we ended up using a heart cookie cutter and then cut the hearts in half). Here she is adding some buttercream grass around the base of the cake (I did the flower stems):

This is the face she makes whenever she knows I'm taking a picture of her:

Here are Alexander sitting on my lap, watching Rachel and playing with fondant. He's obsessed with play dough and anything that resembles play dough so he loves to play with the window glazing compound and, apparently, fondant. He mostly made a mess with his fondant while I made a bunch of little butterflies for Rachel to use.

Here's Rachel checking out the cake:

And adding a bit of water to make the fondant nice and shiny:

She thought we needed lots of sprinkles:

I made a rainbow cake topper out of yarn, which Zoë is excited to hang in her room:

We imagined that the sprinkles are little rainbow drops falling from the rainbow:

Here's a close-up of the bird Zoë asked for on her cake (I made the bird, Rachel made the worm):

Zoë told us that it would be alright if there was only one bird because she knows birds are hard to make, but she asked for a lot of butterflies and flowers. She only told us that after we had finished the cake, but it turns out we were all on the same page, anyway. We did one bird, five butterflies, and five flowers (with five petals each) for our new little five year old.

We went ahead and had cake after lunch today. Here's Rachel leading Zoë to her spot so that she can surprise her with the cake:

Zoë was very impressed.

It seems we managed to meet or exceed all her expectations:

Here's Rachel spinning the cake so Zoë can see it from all sides:

And here they are smiling together, the cake creator and the cake honoree:

And here's Zoë alone with her cake:

I placed the candles very carefully in the front so that the flames wouldn't lick the yarn and catch the whole thing on fire (not that that's ever happened to us before (just kidding—remember Benjamin's 7th birthday when we lit his cake topper on fire?)).

Here are all the sweet kids gathered around Zoë to wish her a happy birthday:

Time to blow out the candles:

I love how Rachel is preventing Alexander from helping with the candle blowing. He's been so excited for his own birthday since he learned birthday season was open. Today when the kids mentioned something about cake and singing he said, "I know! It goes: Happy birthday to you!" Then he dropped his voice to a whisper and continued, "Happy birthday, dear Alexander," and then pretended (very gently) to blow out candles. So everyone was a little worried that he would get overexcited and steal Zoë's moment, but he really was very well behaved.

Here's Daddy cutting the cake:

Zoë wanted the pink flower and one of the petals fell off while Andrew was cutting it and Zoë popped it into her mouth. She's chewing it in this picture, so that's what's in her mouth:

Here's Alexander with his cake:

And Miriam with hers:

And here's Benjamin, who turned his cake into a cake-sicle and is jamming it into his mouth. At least he's using his fork, right?

Here's Rachel enjoying a bite of cake:

And here's Rachel laughing about something funny (I can't remember what, but we're pretty funny people so it was probably hilarious):

Happy Birthday to Zoë!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Rachel did a great job on that cake. It's lovely! I like seeing Zoë's pleased-by-this-cake face. :)